Thursday, November 21, 2013

This Ain't Yo Mama's Sunday Gravy

My husband doesn't like pasta. And I married him anyway, which should tell you about his copious other redeeming qualities. I, however, am a firm believer in pasta. As comfort food, right of passage, learning curve... It's the best food on earth, second only to cheese, which is like pasta's BFF anyway.

Any time E is out of town on business I make pasta. I make it when he is home also, and he chokes it down dutifully, but it is usually a last minute dinner choice, nothing requiring effort. He wouldn't appreciate it. When he is gone I experiment. So when he headed out to L.A. this week, I got all fired up to party like Roy Choi. I figured it was appropriate since he's an L.A based chef and his spaghetti has been popping up everywheres.

Now let me tell you. This ain't yo mama's Sunday gravy. No carrots, no tomato paste, no sawseech. But it's incredible. Like fingers-in-the-hot-pot-can't-wait-to-taste-it incredible. I took my pots and tomatoes over to the home of some pasta aficionado pals and took over their kitchen for the evening (That's been happening lately. I dig it.). We all agreed that this was an unusual sauce, one we would never have thought of making, but it was goood. Hints of mushroom gave it a fantastic depth of flavor and all of that mellowed garlic was perfect. Lots of cheese on top, some good wine, and it was pretty much pasta heaven. Just don't tell my grandmother.

Roy Choi's $4 Spaghetti - adapted just a touch by your truly
1 lb. whole wheat thin spaghetti
2 28 oz. cans plum tomatoes in juice
4 oz. white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cups water
1 cup olive oil
1 head of garlic, peeled
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

In a pot bring water and mushrooms to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Strain the stock and set aside. Save your mushrooms for this amazing spread!

Meanwhile, add oil and garlic to a small sauce pan over very low heat. Simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours, turning occasionally, until garlic is evenly browned and soft.

In a dutch oven, pour tomatoes and cooked garlic with the oil. Pour in one cup of your mushroom stock and blend with an immersion blender. Add more stock as needed until your sauce is smooth like buttah. (Use any excess stock for that spread I mentioned earlier.) Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until reduced. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente (about 6 minutes). Strain, toss with sauce, top with freshly grated parmesan and sere immediately. Preferably with a big glass of red and a chunk of bread for sopping up any saucy goodness left in your bowl. Licking it would be considered unsightly by some, though I wouldn't blame you.

Little man asked for repeats of the dinner today, so he devoured the leftovers with meatballs and lots of "fancy cheese" on top, all while singing "On Top of Spaghetti" as if he was the first boy on Earth to do so. He is so very proud of himself:) 

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